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Ilene is an editor at Phil's Stock World, Market Shadows and other financial publications. Her educational background is in biology, pathology and law. After working in biochemistry and pathology during her graduate years, she attended Law School at Loyola. She practiced law in a number of... More
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  • You Only See What They Want You To See  0 comments
    Dec 23, 2012 8:18 PM
    You only see what they want you to see was written by Dr. Paul Price at Market Shadows

    A full-page ad in the Dec. 24, 2012 issue of Fortune magazine touts ZPR Investment Management with the tag line, "Winning Stragegies for Today's World Markets." It highlighted the performances of its Global Equity Composite and its All Asian Composite versus its benchmark MSCI EAFE (defined below).

    [Click on images to enlarge]

    Of course, ZPR's numbers showed that both of its international portfolio composite models had soundly beaten the index over the past 1, 3 and 5 years. The company invited investors with a minimum of $200,000 - $350,000 to contact it for information about individually managed accounts.

    Who wouldn't want their money in the skilled hands of those who can trounce their respective indices? Could ZPR really be as good as the ads were indicating? Out of curiosity, I went to its website for more information.

    I was not surprised by what I found. Left out of the ad, but available only if you clicked on the right links, were its records for domestic accounts. ZPR had two US-based categories -- ZPR Small-Cap Value and ZPR EQTP accounts.

    I was not familiar with the EQPT term. Here is ZPR's definiton of this unique type of portfolio make-up:

    ZPR has attempted to cherry pick only the very best stocks based mainly on earnings momentum. ZPR projected an incredible, hard-to-imagine, 100% per quarter portfolio turnover. Wow.

    How has the company's Earnings Quality and True Profitability (EQTP) technique perform? Not so well. ZPR's own numbers are shown in the box below. No wonder ZPR didn't take out an ad touting its performance on this one. As of September 30, 12, ZPR's EQPT account had seriously underperformed the S&P 500 over the 1, 2 and 3 year periods.

    Nobody beats the market all the time. Perhaps the company did better with its Domestic Small-Cap Value account.

    The Domestic Small-Cap Value account did beat the Russell 2000 and S&P 500 in the 12-months ended September 30, 12. However, ZPR's Small-Cap accounts seriously lagged both indices in the 3 and 5 year periods. These lagging accounts are no longer mentioned in the advertisements.

    ZPR Investment Management may, or may not, be a good choice for some people. ZPR is only shows its presently good, International model accounts in its ads. It takes a good bit of effort to find the inferior results of its two underperforming domestic model portfolios. Potential investors should investigate the full picture before parting with their finite capital.

    It is unlikely that the ZPR company is alone in its selective advertising techniques. Look at other firms' complete results before relying on performances displayed in company ads.

    Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

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